Shares in chocolatier Thorntons were down today after the company reporting worsening sales drops at its stores in the full year to 26 June.

In the final quarter of the year sales at Thorntons own stores fell by 6.2 per cent to £17.5 million, significantly worse than the 4.9 per cent drop reported in the third quarter and the 4.5 per cent fall in the second. In the full year own store sales were down 3.6 per cent to £129.8 million.

Sales from franchise stores did noticeably better in the final quarter, rising 20.2 per cent to £1.6 million. However this was not enough to offset falls of 15-20 per cent in each of the previous three quarters, making for an overall decline of 14.7 per cent in sales to £13 million during the full year.

Total retail sales were down 3.6 per cent to £20 million in the final quarter, an improvement on the falls of 4.7-4.9 per cent in the previous two quarters. In the full year total retail sales were down 3.7 per cent to £152 million.

Total commercial sales fell 5.7 per cent in the last quarter to £6.8 million however this was more than offset by strong growth earlier in the year, making for total commercial sales of £62.6 million for the full year, an increase of 9.7 per cent.

Total company sales dropped 4.1 per cent in the final and worst quarter to £26.8 million. In the full year total company sales were down 0.1 per cent to £214.6 million.

By 11:15 shares in Thorntons were down 1.20 per cent to 82.00 pence per share.